CSU professor Ryan Donovan doubles as an elite marathon runner

Cody Moore

Practice what you preach. Ryan Donovan may be the embodiment of this oft-repeated phrase, due to the fact that the Health & Exercise Science professor doubles as one of Northern Colorado’s most competitive marathoners. He has had four victories at the Colorado Marathon, and was recently the top athlete from NoCo at the Boston Marathon, placing 86th overall in a time of 2:36:58. That averages to a pace of six minutes per mile, or 10 mph on a warm and windy day.

Donovan picked up running as a freshman in high school. After placing first on his team during his debut race, he was hooked. He ran his first marathon at age 18, and went on to run for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, a highly competitive NCAA Division III school. The college races of between five and 10 kilometers were too short for Donovan, an endurance athlete. He knew that his future in running was in the marathon distance.


“[The marathon] was the distance I had the most success at,” Donovan said. “I think you naturally gravitate towards things you’re good at.”

The day after a tough race, Donovan indulges in a favorite meal. “I don’t each much the day after, but after that my life is pizza. I love pizza. I built an authentic Italian wood fired oven in my backyard.”

On campus, Donovan teaches HES 145, a health and wellness survey class. Donovan’s own educational background includes a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science from UW-La Crosse and a M.S. in Health and Exercise Science from CSU, which explains his passion for the subject.

Look for the marathoner training around town; he begins many runs on campus, and often spends time on the Poudre River and Spring Creek Trails. Chasing fast times still motivates him to put in the miles. His personal best of 2:25 is fast, but Donovan believes the best is yet to come.

“I still think I can run faster,” Donovan said.

Collegian Arts and Culture Reporter Cody Moore can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.